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  • Should I Sign My Card?

    When your card arrives in the mail, youll notice the area for your signature on the back, and the prompt from the issuer to sign it.

    The idea is that, at the time of a purchase, your signature on the charge slip (receipt) will be compared with the one on the back of your card as a means of checking your identity. Its a sad truth, however, that many cashiers never check the back of a card after swiping it. In addition, the advent of self-checkouts at gas station pumps and mass merchandisers, as well as internet shopping, means that it is, in theory, easier than ever for scammers to ply their trade.

    Of course, many cards tout more security measures than ever before, including zero-liability policies in case of fraud and/or theft. Does it matter if you sign your card at all? And how about the trend of writing check ID (permutations: see ID and CID), to supposedly ensure that more attention is paid to your security? In theory, a lost or stolen card with see ID should be impossible to use, right?

    Think again.

    For one, writing see ID on your card does not make the cashiers of the world any more likely to flip your card over and check the signature line at the point of sale. Additionally, advances in computer fraud make it easy for thieves to churn out increasingly real-looking fake IDs your name, with their picture. So what should a smart consumer do?

    Some credit issuers, notably Bank of America, are putting little pictures of the card holder on the front of the card as an added security feature. Choosing a card with this additional aspect of security may be a good idea if you are nervous about the idea of using a credit card for security reasons. And it is true that most card companies will not hold you liable for more than a minor fee if your card is fraudulently used many will hold you 100% free of liability.

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